￼As my husband Robert, 27, came into the room holding a package, my heart skipped a beat. ‘It’s arrived!’ I squealed.
Opening the box, I then carefully removed the tissue paper to reveal the most beautiful white dress adorned with blue poppies, that had been shipped from the UK.
Slipping it on, I looked in the mirror. It’s perfect, I thought. I can’t believe I finally own it! I’d longed for this dress ever since the day I’d seen photos of Duchess Kate wearing it in Brisbane when she and Prince William were here on a royal tour in 2014. And it was thanks to my best friend Rachael, 30, that I now owned the dress.
In bed with a terrible headache, I hadn’t seen it go up on the auction website. I’ve found that blue poppy dress in your size, she messaged. Do you want it? Then, a little while later, I’ve just bought it for you as I didn’t want you to miss out. Thank God for Rachael – I don’t think anyone else would understand!
You see, Rachael and I are ‘replikaters’. That means we take fashion inspiration from Kate and replicate her looks into our daily wardrobe. Sometimes it means wearing a striped top or a scarf the same as Kate’s. Other times it means being head to toe in the same dress, shoes and clutch.
My love affair with the royals started young. Even before I was born, my mum Kim, then 23, walked down the aisle in a copy of the dress worn by Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, on her big day. With long, red hair, Mum looked like a version of Fergie.
As a kid, I loved looking at the glamorous photos of the monarchs in her magazines. Diana, Princess of Wales, died when I was seven and
I remember how upset my mother was. After that, I was still interested in the royals, but thought they lacked the glamour that Diana oozed. That is, until Prince William announced his engagement. Suddenly, Kate Middleton was on the front cover of every magazine.
When I saw her in a stunning beige coat, I knew I’d found my fashion role model. Poring through photos of her online, I started my obsession by buying a pair of nude heels from the UK store where Kate shopped. But as more people became interested in Kate’s fashion, competition to buy her clothes became intense. If she wears something from cheaper shops like Zara or H&M, it can sell out in just 10 minutes.
When I fell pregnant in August 2015, Kate was already a mum to George and Charlotte, and I bought the same polka-dot maternity dress she’d worn from the online store ASOS. At just $40 it was a bargain.
Keen to meet other mums-to-be, I joined a Facebook group for expectant mums. That’s where I met Rachael. Being the only Aussies,
we messaged each other and found out about the secret in each other’s closet – they were both full of Kate dresses! ‘I no longer feel alone in my weird obsession!’ she told me, laughing.The best part was we could also share and swap clothes.
When my boy Hugo, now two, was born in May 2016, it opened up a whole new world of replikating opportunities, using Prince George as our inspiration. ‘My mum’s just given me the same blanket Prince George was in when he was taken home from hospital!’ Rachael said excitedly. So when her boy Louie, two, was born, she was able to wrap him up like a prince.
Although replikating can be an expensive hobby, I mostly stick to buying from chain or online fashion stores so I don’t normally spend more on an outfit than suits my clothing budget. My one big splurge though, was a dress from Australian designer Zimmermann. Showing it off to Robert, my hubby suggested a special dinner to celebrate.
A year ago, Rachael and I started our Instagram account @cambridgemums to show off our favourite replikate looks. Through this we’ve been connected with women from all over the world who share the same passion as we do. Sometimes when a dress has sold out online, one of our UK friends is able to buy it for us and ship it over. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to be real-life Aussie princesses!
On the day of Harry and Meghan’s wedding, you’ll find us up in the middle of the night, in our best outfits, glass of champagne in hand. Of course, we’ll toast to the happy couple, but all eyes will be on Kate!
Read more in this week's issue of that's life!